This research explores use of executable architectures to guide design decisions in the early stages of system development. Decisions made early in the system development cycle determine a majority of the total lifecycle costs as well as establish a baseline for long term system performance and thus it is vital to program success to choose favorable design alternatives. The development of a representative architecture followed the Architecture Based Evaluation Process as it provides a logical and systematic order of events to produce an architecture sufficient to document and model operational performance. In order to demonstrate the value in the application of executable architectures for trade space decisions, three variants of a fictional unmanned aerial system were developed and simulated. Four measures of effectiveness MOEs were selected for evaluation. Two parameters of interest were varied at two levels during simulation to create four test case scenarios against which to evaluate each variant. Analysis of the resulting simulation demonstrated the ability to obtain a statistically significant difference in MOE performance for 10 out of 16 possible test case-MOE combinations. Additionally, for the given scenarios, the research demonstrated the ability to make a conclusive selection of the superior variant for additional development.